New teachers and new environments

How are these new Oakton teachers adapting to the online setting?

Portia Dai, Editorial Board

The new norm of virtual learning is now in full swing with the first month of school passing in a blur. Students have varied feelings on how the online setting compares to in-person schooling, but how are teachers adjusting to this new and dauntingly foreign territory? Being new to the system at Oakton, the added obstacle of online teaching can be a difficult adjustment. Two teachers new to Oakton share their thoughts.

Image courtesy of Ms. Kambic

Meet Ms. Kambic

Ms. Kambic is an English teacher who loves to read young adult and dystopian novels. She has a big family consisting of two dogs and cats as well as five siblings. Outside of teaching, she enjoys playing the ukulele and dancing. She describes Oakton as “very supportive” with kind students and an organized system. 

How are they adapting?

Ms. Kambic said that she is striving to keep her learning goals the same, but has had to readjust how she does group work, doing her best to utilize the breakout group function and other online tools. Her goal for her students is for them to have a challenging yet engaging experience where they can participate by sharing their thoughts. She says that “we’re all working our hardest and trying our best,” but this has definitely proved challenging because it is harder to feel “completely connected” and there has to be more of a push to ask students to participate as there may be less of an initiative on the student side. Ms. Kambic says that although it has been an unprecedented year, she is still enjoying her students and teaching.

Meet Mr. Young

Image courtesy of Mr. Young

Mr. Young is entering his eighth year of teaching and recently moved from Las Vegas to teach math. He has previously taught in Delaware for two years, one year at Mount Vernon High School, and four years in Nevada. He plays soccer collegiately and would be interested in coaching the team at Oakton. Compared to his school in Nevada, Oakton has a lot more people and it’s been a “nice transition” as there are more teachers and therefore “feels more like a family.”

How are they adapting?

Mr. Young says that he enjoys building student-teacher connections, which has been hard to do over the virtual setting. Since he is physically at school while he teaches,  he describes instruction in an empty classroom as “lonely” because what learning would have looked like is right in front of his eyes, but it is also exciting in the sense that “it’s new and there will be an end.” One thing that is definitely looked forward to is the return to the classroom, especially because it is harder to provide immediate help to students and “you can only put so much information on one slide.” Regardless of the challenges of virtual teaching, Mr. Young is excited to have joined the Oakton community!